October 2, 2022
EUROCONTROL Publishes Data on Rerouting around Ukraine

EUROCONTROL Publishes Data on Rerouting around Ukraine

DALLAS – EUROCONTROL’s most recent Data Snapshot shows how the rerouting of flights around Ukraine is disrupting traffic flows across a wide area.

The closure of Ukraine’s airspace and the inaccessibility of Russian airspace to most carriers has resulted in a wave of canceled or unprofitable long-distance rerouted flights, while rising oil prices are beginning to wreak havoc on airline profitability, dashing hopes that European aviation would return to pre-pandemic levels this year.

Data from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, aka EUROCONTROL, look at the variations in overflights from mid-February to mid-March, before the Ukraine invasion. To show what is happening more broadly, the organization uses Lithuania and Hungary as examples.

Commercial flights in Ukraine have come to a halt, and overflights of Moldova have been halted as a result of the aggressive Russian invasion. Overflights are also severely interrupted elsewhere near Ukraine’s, Russia’s, and Belarus’ borders.

Every day, Lithuania loses roughly 200 overflights (-46%). Flows to and from Russia, mainly from Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, have ceased, accounting for more than half of the drop (110 flights per day). For the same reason, Poland, Latvia, and many other countries have fewer overflights.

Flights between Turkey and Russia are still operating, albeit at a reduced rate of roughly 30%. However, because they are staying further west to avoid Belarus, Lithuania has gained roughly 18 flights per day on this route. This limited increase is more than offset by reductions in overflights to/from Asia and also because Belarus is closed.

Flights between Germany and China have increased by 10%, but European carriers are routing south, through Georgia, for example, and non-European carriers still using Russian airspace are routing north, through Estonia and Latvia rather than Lithuania, which is losing 25 overflights per day to and from North and South East Asia.


Further Reductions

The remaining reduction for Lithuania is due to shorter-haul flights, such as those from Finland and Estonia to Germany, staying further west, away from the Kaliningrad exclave, resulting in the relocation of 18 daily overflights from Lithuania to Sweden.

The re-routing of flows to Asia and the Middle East further south accounts for much of Hungary’s 29% rise in overflights (290 per day), although it only accounts for about a third of the difference (100 flights per day). Flights to and from Romania have increased dramatically in the previous month, with about 70 additional flights per day added for Hungary; this is primarily due to ‘organic’ end-to-end expansion rather than re-routing.

The Turkey-Russia flow noted earlier, as well as other Scandinavian and Baltic flows that are now avoiding Ukraine, are examples of modest overflight benefits for Hungary.

EUROCONTROL will host a webinar on March 25 to explore how airspace closures triggered by the Russian war against Ukraine are impacting European aviation.

Featured image: EUROCONTROL

Chief Online Editor
Chief Online Editor at Airways Magazine, AVSEC interpreter and visual artist; grammar geek, an avid fan of aviation, motorcycles, sci-fi literature, and film.

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